Psalms 78
God’s Faithfulness in Israel’s History
A maskil of Asaph.#The Hebrew Bible counts the superscription as the first verse of the psalm
1Listen, O my people, to my teaching.
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2I will offer#Hebrew “open” a parable with my mouth.
I will pour out riddles from long ago,
3that we have heard and known,
and our ancestors#Or “fathers” have told us.
4We will not hide them from their children,#Or “descendants”
telling the next generation the praises of Yahweh,
and his power and his wonders that he has done.
5For he established a testimony in Jacob,
and appointed a law#Hebrew torah in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors#Or “fathers”
to teach to their children,
6so that the next generation might know—
children yet to be born—
that they might rise up and tell their children,
7that they might set their confidence in God,
and not forget the deeds of God,
but keep his commandments,
8and not be like their ancestors,#Or “fathers”
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation that did not make ready its heart,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.
9The sons of Ephraim, armed with archers,#Literally “armed with shooters of the bow”
turned back on the day of battle.
10They did not keep the covenant of God
and refused to go in his law.#Hebrew torah
11They also forgot his deeds,
and his wonders that he had shown them.
12In front of their ancestors#Or “fathers” he did a wonder,
in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan.
13He split the sea and caused them to go over,
and he caused waters to stand like a heap.
14And he led them with the cloud by day,
and all night with a fiery light.
15He caused rocks to split in the wilderness
and provided drink abundantly as from the depths.
16And he brought streams out of the rock
and caused water to flow down like rivers.
17But they sinned still further against him
by rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
18And they tested God in their heart
by asking food for their craving.#Literally “for their soul”
19And they spoke against God.
They said, “Is God able
to prepare a table in the wilderness?
20Yes, he struck the rock and water flowed
and streams gushed out,
but can he also give food
or provide meat for his people?”
21Therefore Yahweh heard
and he was very angry,
and a fire was kindled against Jacob,
and his anger also rose up against Israel,
22because they did not believe God,
and they did not trust his salvation.
23Nevertheless, he commanded the skies above
and opened the doors of heaven,
24and rained down on them manna to eat
and gave them the grain of heaven.
25Humankind ate the bread of angels.#Literally “mighty ones”
He sent them food enough to be satisfied.
26He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens
and drove along the south wind by his strength.
27Then he rained meat on them like dust,
even winged birds#Hebrew “bird” like the sand of the seas.
28He caused them to fall in the midst of his camp,
all around his dwellings.
29So they ate and were well filled,
and he brought about what they craved.
30They had not yet turned aside from their craving,
while their food was still in their mouth,
31the anger of God rose against them,
and he killed some of the stoutest of them,
even the young men of Israel he caused to bow down in death.
32In spite of all this they sinned further
and did not believe his wonders.
33And he consumed their days with futility #Or “he ended their days like a breath”
their years with terror.#Or “and their years suddenly”
34When he killed some of them, then they sought him,
and repented and earnestly sought God.
35And they remembered that God was their rock,
and God Most High their redeemer.
36But they enticed him with their mouth
and lied to him with their tongue.
37For their heart was not steadfast with him,
nor were they faithful to his covenant.
38But he was compassionate; he pardoned#Or “covered,” or “atoned for” their guilt
and did not destroy them.
And many times he turned back his anger
and did not stir up all his wrath,
39for he remembered that they were flesh,
a passing wind that does not return.
40How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
and vexed him in the wasteland!
41So they again tested God
and distressed#Or perhaps, “pressed to the limit” the Holy One of Israel.
42And they did not remember his power#Literally “hand”
when#Literally “the day that” he redeemed them from the enemy,
43how he performed#Hebrew “set” his signs in Egypt
and his wonders in the region of Zoan,
44when he turned their rivers#Normally the word for the Nile, with the plural here suggesting perhaps it and its canals to blood
so they could not drink from their streams.
45He sent among them flies that devoured them
and frogs that destroyed them.
46And he gave their crop to the locusts
and their labor to the locust.#Two different words translated “locusts”
47He destroyed their vines with hail
and their sycamore trees with sleet.#The word for “sleet” is only used here, and the translation is a guess based on context
48He also handed their cattle over to the hail
and their livestock to the lightning bolts.
49He sent against them his fierce anger,
rage and indignation and trouble,
a band of destroying#Literally “evil” angels.
50He cleared a path for his anger.
He did not spare them#Hebrew “their soul” from death
but handed their life over to the plague.
51And he struck down all the firstborn in Egypt,
the first of their virility in the tents of Ham.
52Then he led out his people like sheep
and guided them like a herd in the wilderness.
53And he led them safely and they were not afraid,
but the sea covered their enemies.
54So he brought them to his holy territory,#Hebrew “border”
this mountain his right hand acquired.#Or “had created”
55And he drove out nations before them
and allocated them for an inheritance by boundary line,
and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.
56But they tested and rebelled against God Most High
and did not keep his statutes.
57And they turned and were treacherous like their ancestors.#Or “fathers”
They twisted like a crooked#Or “deceitful” bow.
58For they provoked him to anger with their high places,
and made him jealous with their images.
59God heard and he was very angry
and rejected Israel utterly.
60So he abandoned the dwelling place at Shiloh,
the tent he had placed among humankind.
61And he gave his strength into captivity
and his splendor into the hand of the enemy.
62He also handed his people over to the sword,
and he was very angry with his inheritance.
63Fire devoured his young men,
and his young women#Or “virgins” were not praised.
64His priests fell by the sword,
and his widows did not weep.
65Then the Lord awoke like one who had been asleep,
awoke like a warrior who had been drunk with wine.#Or “like a warrior shouting because of wine”
66And he beat back his enemies;
he gave them over to perpetual scorn.
67And he rejected the tent of Joseph,
and did not chose the tribe of Ephraim,
68but chose the tribe of Judah,
Mount Zion#Literally “the mountain of Zion” that he loved.
69And he built his sanctuary like the heights,
like the earth that he established forever.
70And he chose David his servant
and took him from the sheepfolds.
71He brought him from following nursing ewes
to shepherd Jacob, his people,
and Israel, his inheritance.
72And he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,
and led them by the skillfulness of his hands.
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